Minister leads celebration of Wales’ FIRST European Charter for Sustainable Tourism award

Minister for Heritage, Mr Rhodri Glyn Thomas gave the green thumbs up to Bannau Brycheiniog National Park today, as he led celebrations for Wales’ FIRST award under the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas.

The National Park received the accolade from the Europarc Federation in September 2007. The Charter is awarded to protected areas like National Parks which have shown a commitment to developing tourism while considering the needs of future generations through conserving resources.

Bannau Brycheiniog National Park is the first protected area in Wales to receive the prestigious award, which represents five years of successful partnership working between local businesses, agencies for tourism and countryside organisations.  The Park joins an elite group of just 47 members which include some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes.

Mr Thomas said, “The Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority is to be congratulated on the incredibly fine balancing act it has had to perform. It has had to reconcile the needs of conserving the natural beauty of the landscape and wildlife habitats with the needs of people who earn their livelihood in the area. While demonstrating good practice in sustainability in its business operation it has to take account of others who live in its communities and the many visitors who come to enjoy the range of amenities offered by the National Park and the communities within it. 

“The Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority has had to show great vision, considerable diplomacy, courage and dynamism to follow through on its aims and objectives and to carry with it the support of so many public and private bodies and the people who make up the communities in the Park area. This award is superb recognition of an achievement in sustainability that is an example not only to tourism operators and other organisations in Wales but to the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Chris Gledhill, Chief Executive for the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, said:  “Winning this award is a sign that the partnership in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park is delivering one of the best sustainable tourism initiatives in Europe.  Our landscape is still one of Wales’ best kept secrets so I am extremely proud that all the hard work that has been put into the development of sustainable tourism has been rewarded in this way.

“All those who have been associated with obtaining the Charter should feel a tremendous sense of pride and satisfaction on this occasion.  We are very grateful to all our partners for working with us to achieve this wonderful result.”

Mr Thomas was joined by Chris Gledhill, BBNPA’s Chief Executive and its Chairman, Mary Taylor, Mrs Punch Maughan from Bannau Brycheiniog Tourism Association, Mr Jonathan Jones from Visit Wales, Ms Dee Reynolds from Tourism Partnership Mid Wales and Mark Kerr, Chief Executive for Powys County Council together with 60 other partnership members in the award ceremony at the Clarence Hall in Crickhowell.